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What Is Lemon Shortbread?

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  • Written By: M. Chambers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Lemon shortbread is a type of baked biscuit made with lemon extract and other ingredients including butter, sugar, and flour. Lemon or orange rinds can also be included in a lemon shortbread recipe. The tart cookies are often paired with tea, and can be eaten plain or dipped into condiments such as jam, honey, or fruit preserves. This type of shortbread cookie can be found in a variety of different shapes, from long and rectangular to round like a traditional cookie.

The ingredients found in traditional shortbread recipes are typically used in most lemon shortbread recipes, as well. The key ingredients almost always consist of sugar, flour, and softened butter. In addition, corn starch and brown sugar are occasionally used in the shortbread. Lemon juice is added to the shortbread mixture, as well as the grated peel of a lemon or other citrus fruit. For less tangy versions of the shortbread, the baker will usually only include a small amount of lemon extract or grated peel.

Once the key ingredients are combined and made into a dough, the baker spreads the mixture over an oiled pan or separates the dough into individual cookies. The shortbread is usually baked for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the dough has developed a crisp, crumbly texture. Usually it is not cut into form until completely cooled, and may be sliced into triangles, squares, or rectangles. It is common to serve the cookies with tea or other hot beverages.

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The smooth, buttery taste of shortbread pairs well with the slight tartness of the citrus, which is why lemon is often used in shortbread cookies. Other fruits such as raspberry, orange, and blueberry also pair well with lemon and are frequently included in variations of lemon shortbread that use more than one fruit ingredient. Using a sweeter fruit, such as blueberry, can also help balance out the sourness of the lemon in the cookie. Lemon shortbread biscuits can also be dipped into berry preserves for added flavor and sweetness.

Lavender, basil, and thyme are also occasionally used as ingredients in shortbread recipes that include lemon. Using these ingredients often gives the cookie a more savory and sweet flavor, rather than fruity, sugary, and tart. The subtle flavor of the herbs often complements the tartness of the lemon, as well. Mint leaves can also be used with lemon shortbread recipes that include herbs.

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